Mahlkönig X54 Allround Coffee Grinder

Burr, Blade or Hand: Your Guide to Home Coffee Grinders

What makes for a perfectly brewed cup of coffee? Freshness and full-bodied flavors that warm you instantly. And we can agree that there’s nothing quite like that first sip - whether you’re enjoying a cup at home or visiting your favorite coffee shop.

But, if you’ve ever wondered how to brew a consistently good cup of coffee, the key is in picking the right coffee grinder. If you’re unsure about which coffee grinder is right for you or you’re looking to try something new, we’ll walk you through some of the best types of grinders, how to use them and the importance of grind size.

Types of Coffee Grinders

Grinders are the perfect way to bring a barista-level brew right to your home. When used immediately before brewing coffee, these machines keep grinds fresh and elevate the overall experience. The right grinder will give you excellent-tasting coffee grounds whenever and from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re asking yourself whether you should invest in a coffee grinder, well, there are a few options to choose from. The three options are burr, hand and blade. However, depending on the desired size of grind, taste and blend, you’ll want to bear these points in mind:

- A burr grinder grinds with burrs. They can be conical or flat in shape and, though both types cut through whole beans evenly and quickly, flat burrs are more precise in providing a high-quality grind. And, if you’re wondering whether blade or burr grinder is right, this type of grinder is best as burrs provide better grind size distribution. Plus, because burr grinders are designed for both temperature control and precise dosing, you can recreate a consistently flavorful cup of coffee every time.

- Blade grinders are sometimes described in appearance as mini food processors. Many people might choose this as a first step in their coffee journey because they’re cost-effective. However, blade grinders dull easily and grind coffee unevenly. This means you’re left with grinds of all sizes which leads to an unbalanced cup and inconsistent brew.

- Hand or Manual grinders are very versatile and can provide a grind of any size but they can be a little labor-intensive. They’re loved for their portability, making them a good travel companion. However, try making a round of espressos for some guests without getting tired from grinding!

How to Use Your Coffee Grinder

Now, once you’ve decided on which coffee grinder sounds like the best match, let’s get into how to use them!

Before starting:

The recommended amount is approx. 60 grams of coffee per liter of water. You can add more or less depending on how strong you’d like your coffee.

Burr grinders

As we mentioned before, burrs come in two shapes: conical or flat.

The way these work? Well, conical burr grinders are cone-shaped and have two burrs, one inside and one outside. The ridges are on the inside. Flat burr grinders are made of two parallel rings, serrated on each side. When in use, the grinder’s motor keeps one ring stationary and another rotating.

Regardless of material and finish, the burr grinding process is consistent and effective. At Mahlkönig, we stock a variety of high-quality steel flat burrs to adapt to your specific coffee grinder and last you years.

If you’ve opted for a high-end burr grinder, our all-around home grinder - Mahlkönig X54 Allround Home Grinder - is an electric flat burr grinder that provides a first-class experience in design and functionality. It also keeps your grounds fresh for a truly unique taste experience at home. Because of our commitment to quality, this grinder has been designed to allow for more variety in the grind, meaning you can pick between espresso or pour over. When using this kind of model, pour in the desired amount at the top, select desired finish and power on.

A couple is enjoying a cup of coffee made with Mahlkönig X54 Allround Home Grinder

Blade grinders

Blade grinders are generally straightforward in design: once you’ve placed the beans in the grinder, cover them with the lid and press the button. Open and push down grinds from edges, cover and grind again.*

*Remember: though this kind of grinder is affordable, they don't grind the beans but smash them into tiny pieces because of the high velocity of the spinning blades, which leads to uneven and unpredictable grind sizes.

Hand grinders

Hand grinders require a bit of work and patience. Most of them come with a top and bottom chamber. Between these two chambers are either flat or conical burrs which can then be adjusted.

Size of Coffee Grind

“Okay, so, now that I’ve picked out the right grinder and kinda know how to use it, what’s the right coffee ground for me?”

Getting the right size is crucial for the entire extraction process. That is, the process of extracting (or pulling) soluble compounds by water. There are several ways to extract flavor in the coffee world and each one results in a different and distinctive flavor.

No one method is better than the other, it’s all a matter of taste! From pour-over to French-press, there are many ways to enjoy coffee.

Grind Size and Taste

When choosing coffee grounds for a specific extraction method, think of how long the grounds are resting in the water. For example, you wouldn’t want coarse grounds in a Mokka pot because the method is high-pressure, and so the flavor is lost and can make for a bitter, watery cup of coffee. In this case, we’d suggest you aim for fine grinds as these have a higher surface area.

If you’re wondering if you’ve under or over-extracted your coffee, look for sour or bitter tastes. The reason you get bad-tasting coffee? Very likely the wrong grind size.

But, how can you tell which size is right? As we discussed earlier, most coffee grinders are adjustable so you can go from coarse to fine depending on your extraction method.

Some suggested grind sizes:

Grind

Consistency

Extraction Method

Extra-coarse

Rock salt

Cold brew

Coarse

Sea salt

French Press

Medium to medium fine

Sand, table salt

Mokka pot, Aeropress

Fine

Fine caster sugar

Espresso

If you aren’t quite happy with your brew, you may want to play with grind-size and quantity until you get the desired flavor.

Here are a few helpful tips if you find your coffee still tastes a bit off:

- if you find your coffee lacking body and flavor, grind finer,

- if you find your coffee tastes bitter, grind it coarser.

Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

After having invested in a nifty new gadget, you’ll want to maintain and clean it. This way, you ensure performance, quality in taste and durability. There are a few other reasons why you should regularly clean your coffee grinder:

- When ground, beans release oils that can easily build up in your grinder. These oils can go rancid, giving off an unpleasant smell. Similarly, if left in your grinder, this residual oil can make coffee grounds taste a bit off.

- In addition to oils, remaining coffee dust and bits can affect the taste. Leaving bits in your grinder might also dull the blades.

Depending on the type of grinder, here are a few tips on how to clean your new coffee equipment:

- If it’s a burr grinder: most electric burr grinders come with a bean hopper - you’ll want to remove this and rinse well with water (soapy water works, too). From there, remove the pieces from your grinder and rinse with water. Using a brush, you’ll want to scrub the sides of your burr grinder to make sure all the dust and bits come off. If any bits remain, simply wipe off with a damp cloth. Let all the pieces dry off and then reassemble! If you’re looking for a specific grinder cleaner, opt for a product like our GRINDZ Grinder Cleaner. This product works to clean burr grinders and casing to prolong their lifespan. We recommend that you use this once a week for optimal maintenance.

- If it’s a blade grinder: fill the grinder with rice until the blade is covered. From there, run your grinder how you normally would and remove the rice grains when finished. If there are any remaining coffee bits or dust, gently wipe down your grinder with a damp cloth.

We hope this guide has helped you understand coffee grinders a bit more and the importance of choosing one that’ll give you the right consistency and grind. Remember that enjoying a delicious cup of coffee at home is all about investing a bit of time and research until you find the right equipment and settings for your coffee.

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